UK's DCMS to call for evidence that loot boxes should be classified as gambling

UK's DCMS to call for evidence that loot boxes should be classified as gambling

The UK government's Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is apparently launching a call for evidence that video game loot boxes should be reclassified as gambling.

As reported by The Guardian, the department is set to open up for evidence this week, though it's unclear what evidence DCMS is looking for. We've reached out to see if they can clarify.

This follows a 2019 select committee into immersive and addictive technologies, which concluded that – among other things – that legislation should be brought under the Gambling Act 2005 to say that loot boxes are indeed a game of chance.

The UK Gambling Commission has repeatedly said that loot boxes do not constitute gambling. Trade body Ukie said that it was reviewing the committee's report and would be working hard to safeguard minors and vulnerable people

Fellow UK trade body TIGA has said that the government should "urgently" carry out research about loot boxes and gambling, while age rating board PEGI has said that it was working with relevant authorities to find solutions to issues raised in the DCMS' report.

Anger over the aggressive use of loot boxes in video games grew over the years and reached a peak at the end of 2017 with EA's Star Wars: Battlefront II. That was by far the only guilty title, with Middle-earth: Shadow of War and Forza Motorsport 7.

The games industry has largely moved away from loot boxes as a business model, with the Battle Pass being one way by which it has been replaced. 

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.